Two Massachusetts priests deny sexual abuse allegations

Two Massachusetts priests deny sexual abuse allegations

Two Massachusetts priests deny sexual abuse allegations

St. Augustine School in Lawrence, Mass. (Credit: Stock image.)

Two Massachusetts-area priests have denied accusations of sexual abuse, while both are presently suspended pending an investigation.

ANDOVER, Mass. — Two Massachusetts priests have denied allegations of sexual abuse of a boy decades ago.

The Eagle-Tribune reports that both Father Peter Gori and Father William Waters say the allegations are false.

Gori is currently a pastor at St. Augustine’s Church in Andover. Waters served as a pastor at several Merrimack Valley parishes and is now a pastor in Philadelphia.

The attorney for the man, now in his 40s, says Waters abused his client from 1987 to 1990 when he was eight to 10 years old, and that Gori repeatedly sexually abused him in the 1990s when he was 10 years old.

Both priests have been placed on leave pending the outcome of investigations.

Terrence Donilon, secretary for communications and public affairs at the Archdiocese of Boston, said the abuse is alleged to have happened at St. Augustine’s in Lawrence. At the time, the victim attended St. Augustine’s School in Lawrence, according to his attorney.

Gori denied the allegations in a letter sent to St. Augustine’s parishioners. In it, Gori writes he was informed of the allegation by the provincial of his Augustinian order last Friday.

“I assure you, as I assured the Provincial, that the accusation is false,” Gori wrote.

Waters has also denied the allegation against him, according to a written statement from Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Waters has “voluntarily stepped aside as pastor” pending the outcome of the matter, according to the statement from Gavin. He was placed on administrative leave in his role as pastor at St. Augustine’s in Philadelphia, and the archdiocese has restricted his faculties to function as a priest, pending the outcome of the matter, the statement said.

While on administrative leave, the statement said Waters will not be able to function publicly as a priest and will have no access to parish or school facilities.

An article from The Boston Globe in November 2011 said Gori referred to a proposal by Cardinal Sean O’Malley to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse as an “electronic wall of shame” at an advisory group meeting in March 2009.

Gori was part of O’Malley’s Presbyteral Council, an advisory group of clergy.

“The ramification to priest morale hangs in the balance,” said Gori, according to the article.

Crux Staff also contributed to this report.

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